HAMBURG, May 9, 2020
German young gun Rudolf Molleker has been one of the crowd favorites at the Hamburg European Open for the past three years. In 2017, as a 16-year-old, he battled through the qualifying to reach his first main draw on the ATP Tour. One year later, Molleker defeated Spanish veteran David Ferrer in the first round, and in 2019 he knocked out two-time Rothenbaum champion Leonardo Mayer from Argentina in his opening match.
As the coronavirus crisis forced many tournaments to be cancelled or postponed, Molleker is one of the tennis professional on the circuit, who has been affected by the pandemic.
“I started playing tennis again on Monday, so my hands are covered with blisters. I can’t describe how much fun it was to be back on the court,” the 19-year-old from Oranienburg told Hamburg European Open stadium announcer Matthias Killing during an Instagram live talk earlier this week.
“I haven’t been playing tennis for almost two months. I was forced to withdraw from the Australian Open due to a back injury and experienced some difficult times at the beginning of the year anyway. So I took a little break from tennis. When I started again, I actually wanted to play an ATP Challenger and was getting ready for the clay-court season when the corona lockdown was announced. I haven’t really played tennis since then,” said Molleker, who had to cope with an elbow injury at the end of last season, which he completed in November by falling to Cem Ilkel of Turkey in the second round of the inaugural Tennis Challenger Hamburg presented by Tannenhof.
Molleker would love to return to Hamburg later in 2020 competing in the prestigious ATP 500 clay-court event but due to the exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic and following the measures imposed by the Government of Germany prohibiting the holding of sporting events until August 31, 2020, this year’s edition of the Hamburg European Open can not be held in July. The 114th edition of the tournament was scheduled for July 11 to 19.
“I pray that the tournament will take place this year. I have heard that everything is being tried so that it can be moved to September. The Rothenbaum tournament is the highlight of the year for me. I have fabulous memories of the past three years and associate incredible emotions with Hamburg,” the youngster said.
“When I was 16, I was allowed to play on an almost packed center court and experienced my first on-court La Ola. The support from the fans in Hamburg is always outstanding. It is my absolute favorite tournament.”
Molleker clinched his maiden ATP Challenger crown on home soil at the 2018 Neckarcup in Heilbronn and is currently ranked World No. 189. The Hamburg